E3 2002The Y-Project impressions

We brought you the first word on this Unreal-powered first-person shooter last year. We learn more details about it today.

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In an unassuming part of E3's Kentia Hall, German developer Westka Interactive is showing off The Y-Project, an impressive-looking first person action adventure game. The game is powered by the Unreal engine, and it uses the technology to great effect. Assuming you have a PC that can handle it, every character and weapon and some surfaces in the game will feature bump mapping, and the end result is simply stunning. On close-ups of one of the male character models, it was possible to see individual wrinkles around his eyes and stubble on his chin. All in all, a very cool effect. This technology is being jointly developed by Epic Games and Westka, and it will be incorporated into the rest of the Unreal engine for other licensees to use.

We were shown both indoor and outdoor areas, and the outdoor area was quite large and featured some spectacular real-time shadows, including light shadows on the ground from clouds passing overhead. When you look up at the sky, you'll see the sun poking through the clouds, and this is lit from six different projections, resulting in a wild array of natural-looking colors.

The game deals largely with the conflict between humans and a mutated bug colony, and your character will be torn between the Military and Scientific factions, both of which are fighting to drive out the bugs but are embroiled in a conflict with each other at the same time. Your character is given quests throughout the game, and by choosing which quests to pursue, you choose which faction to align yourself with. Of course, the factions are always attempting to sway you to the other side, so even if you're on a quest for the Military faction, someone from the other side might contact you and bribe you with weapons to get you to switch.

There are some 60 different weapons in the game, and it looks like Westka is attempting to avoid the usual sort of first-person shooter clichés with some clever weapons. Each faction has its own specific weapons, such as one that burrows into its victims and another that is a purely passive weapon, as it only affects the speed of its target. To use it properly, you shoot an enemy a couple of times, and once it's been slowed down enough, you can switch to your plain laser blaster to finish the job. Most enemies have both short- and long-range attacks, requiring you to devise different tactics for each enemy type.

The Y-Project is in development for release next year, and what we've seen so far is very promising indeed.

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